Things Are Different in the Olympic Games – in Good and Bad

Travels — 16.2.2018

The Pyeongchang Olympic games started adventurously! There were surprises right from the beginning. First we arrived to our accommodation and noticed straight it was a Whattawowshithole – it was one of the most horrifying places I’ve ever stayed at. You should have seen those musty and dusty hallway carpets that welcomed us! This was well over a hundred euros per night but nothing matched with the description online and the staff didn’t speak a single word in English even though they had answered to our emails properly. Google Translate! Soon we understood that probably all the reviews we had read had been made up and maybe they had set up this place for the Olympics to make some money. Well at least we had a roof above us. Life is an adventure and we got a good laugh out of this dump crap.

The Olympic games are happening in the middle of nowhere – in the countryside a couple of hours from Seoul. Apparently they have built the settings for the games – otherwise the area seems undeveloped. South Korea has grown and prospered over the last 60 years and is one of the economic powers in the world but it seems the rural areas have left behind after the Korean War. So besides the sports there isn’t that much to wonder during this grey time of year. So we were glad to come to Seoul a bit – Seoul seems to be an interesting city!

The countryside of the South Korea is probably the first place where I have encountered some wonderment and cultural differences. Communication has been disconnected: most of the local people are smiling and willing to help you but it is a hassle. Same goes with the Olympic arrangements. There are thousands of people in the sports area but only two food stalls – it takes hours to wait and some people are left without any treats. There can be freaking cold and a freezing wind but the heated building is way too small for that amount of people. Between the different games you can’t leave the area and there can be over two hours waiting before the next competition starts. Where is the common sense when organising this big events?

Joukko ihmisia olympialaisissa sillit purkissa
Very crowded in the heated room – not everyone can fit in

Still the mood is great! What a feeling it is to be there on the spot and follow top-level sports – especially when you have a cousin of yours competing there! A big pity Rene hurt his wrist in slope style but I had a strong feeling that he will rise again, like he will! Anyway it was so cool to follow the other snowboarding stars. What a sport it is – I love watching snowboarding, it is so exciting and I can’t believe what I’m seeing – all those tricks, how are they even possible?! The tricks look big even on the spot but the surroundings feel small compared to TV. The thing is that you people who follow the Olympic games on TV see so much more with the wide lens and detailed broadcasting. On the spot it feels strange that you are at the Olympic games! We are going from Seoul back to Pyeongchang on Sunday to watch Finnish ice hockey – I’m very excited about that – as well as about the big air, which is on next week!

Phoenix Park Pyeongchang
Everything feels smaller on the spot!

There are also things that I’m not excited about, at all! Olympic games always seem to involve some serious bullshit. Also South Korea revealed its skeletons immediately. There is a dog meat farm some miles away from the Olympic area. It is horrible to read the reports about it – can this be true, where are the animal rights? Same goes with the human rights! There are plenty of demonstrative banderols in the Olympic area, which are literally saying, “The Olympic games is killing us”. The entrepreneurs whose ski resorts have stayed closed for months because of the Olympic games wrote these messages. One of the athletes told us that they the athletes can’t tell about these shady facts unless the reporters ask them. I hope there are enough aware reporters! The games need to operate in a better way – if we are talking about a massive organisation, which tries to pull the world together and drives the world peace. It should stand behind the human rights and animal rights and equality also on the grassroots level – and when it doesn’t everything seems like a big set where nothing else matters – except the money. Well, I’m grateful they managed to negotiate for North Korea to join the games. Otherwise I would have been more scared when I woke up in one morning and read a text “emergency announcement”…

They are teasing people and making dog meat in the Olympic areas
Hätätiedote Koreassa ei naurata
I got this text when I woke up on the second morning. It says emergency annoucement. Luckily it was just a tiny earthquake.

Next there will be an article about the Korean quirks! Short introduction: on a day one we got this taxi driver who had like two opposite freaking personas in him. First he was so mad at us while he had to wait us when we picked some tickets – he thought we won’t pay him even the taximeter was on. He was driving back to our home village fiercely without winter tires on zero weather and us without seatbelts. He was driving so fast that we thought we wouldn’t see the games we had the tickets for. Lucky for him and us we got there alive and Matti gave the driver some extra. That same guy turned like a different person, suddenly he was smiling like crazy and he pointed a dinner restaurant for us. A restaurant where we got to cook our own meal at the end of the day! After that there was a bed waiting without any sheets and a shower with a stamp size towel to dry yourself after! Gotta love the Korean experience. More quirks coming!

Rene Rinnekangas olympialaiset
It is very exciting in the Olympic games!
Rene Rinnekangas Pyeongchang Slopestyle
Rene Rinnekangas Represents
Pyeongchang Rene Rinnekangas
My favorite boy Rene and my favorite number 17 (my b-day number)!!
Karhu pipo beanie
Karhu beanie touring the world
Roope Tonteri Pyeongchang
Snowboarder Roope Tonteri and Rene’s mum Leena and SUOMI FINLAND!
Red Gerard Fans Pyeongchang
Red Gerard got this. Yankees have won quite many medals – our turn!
Pyeongchang Rene Rinnekangas vanhemmat
There is quite a farewell when leaving Phoenix Park. They know how to cheer!